Politics, Moderate



Anti-Immigrant Angst is Stoked by Economic Fear

CHICAGO -- We never need look very far into the past to see how frequently history repeats itself.

In the news are headlines about xenophobic political statements made to curry favor with the far right -- suggestions to end birthright citizenship, baseless accusations about immigrant populations incubating crime and violence, and dehumanizing ...Read more

Don't Bake Your DNA

CHICAGO -- Former President Jimmy Carter got me to schedule a doctor's appointment and buy sunscreen.

When I heard that Carter has four spots of melanoma on his brain, I felt a bit of a gut punch. Melanoma? What is skin cancer doing on the president's brain?

I thought I knew a good bit about melanoma. But even I didn't know that ...Read more

End the School-to-Prison Pipeline

CHICAGO -- A recent poll seems to imply that the general public does not understand, and maybe has never heard of, the school-to-prison pipeline.

It is a national trend in which children -- more often than not, minorities -- are caught up by "zero-tolerance" public school policies that criminalize minor infractions of school rules.

In the past...Read more

The Family That Educates Together, Elevates Together

CHICAGO -- Dear dads: It's your time to shine.

Everyone knows that kids do better academically when "parents" participate in school activities such as helping with homework and teacher conferences. But all too often, moms are designated the school-stuff managers, leaving out a precious piece of the puzzle for ensuring that kids understand how ...Read more

'The Cartel': A Love Letter to Mexico

CHICAGO -- Don Winslow's epic new novel, "The Cartel," about Mexican drug lord Adan Barrera's desperate moves to stay on top of a quickly changing political and competitive landscape, couldn't have been released at a better time.

The book, which begins with a Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-esque prison break, came out mere weeks before the real ...Read more

Do Not Expect Less of Minority Students or Teachers

CHICAGO -- Last week, a federal judge ruled that one of the four licensing exams that aspiring teachers in New York state must pass does not discriminate against minorities.

Judge Kimba M. Wood ruled that the state and the testing company that helped devise the exam, Pearson, had properly ensured that the Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST) "...Read more

Factory Moves Damage Both Sides of Border

CHICAGO -- In recent months, several U.S.-based manufacturers have announced that they're moving factory operations to Mexico. These moves are yet another blow to an already hobbled working class.

Goodyear, the Akron, Ohio-based tire manufacturer, broke ground on a $550 million, 1 million-plus-square-foot plant in Mexico in late July.

A few ...Read more

Treating Teachers as Sports Stars?

CHICAGO -- Last week a Comedy Central skit called "TeachingCenter" about the career moves of star educators in the fictional 2015 "Teacher Draft" went viral.

In it, two SportsCenter-like anchors lavished adoring attention on a system offering multimillion-dollar salaries for high-performing teachers, astronomical cash incentives for high test ...Read more

Take a Trip -- Through a Book

CHICAGO -- If you use books to go somewhere you know practically nothing about, and meet someone you might not ordinarily get a chance to know, here are three that will transport you to interesting places you may (or may not) want to visit in real life.

"Townie: A Memoir" is written by Andre Dubus III, who has garnered critical acclaim for his ...Read more

On Immigration, We Can't Handle the Truth

CHICAGO -- People tend to say they want straight-talking politicians -- then get upset when straight talk actually occurs.

Take the case of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has been tap-dancing across the world's stage this summer trying to hold the eurozone together in the face of a massive Greek default, while also dealing with the issue ...Read more

Baby Steps to Healthier Eating

CHICAGO -- Happy midsummer! You have officially entered prime weight-gain season.

The back half of the calendar always means that the Fourth of July food extravaganzas have erased the memory of January's bikini-bod dreams. From here on, it's backyard barbecues and food festivals until we hit the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas gluttony ...Read more

It's Comedy, Folks

CHICAGO -- Shame on me for falling into the trap of blindly agreeing with an Internet meme.

Stand-up comedian Amy Schumer has been hot in the public spotlight. The "it" girl has a hit Comedy Central show "Inside Amy Schumer," a recently announced comedy tour with comedian Aziz Ansari and an upcoming Judd Apatow-directed movie, "Trainwreck."

...Read more

Have Faith in the Melting Pot

CHICAGO -- If, among a certain subgroup of white Americans, there is an inherent fear of the Latin-ization of the United States, is there a parallel unease among some Hispanics? If not quite a fear, per se, then perhaps an aversion to becoming white?

In a recent New York Times story about the spread of white supremacist websites, there ...Read more

Our Love/Hate Relationship With The End of the World

CHICAGO -- It's summer, the perfect time for apocalyptic anxiety.

The season's hottest films so far -- "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Jurassic World," "San Andreas," "Terminator Genisys" -- have centered on drought after civilization's collapse, genetic engineering run amok, the mother of all earthquakes and cyberterrorism enabling the end of life as ...Read more

Failure to Communicate On Immigration

CHICAGO -- New research has confirmed that our national conversation about immigration is so tainted by bad feelings and misinformation that it's nearly impossible to actually converse.

Most of those who have been entrenched in the immigration issue for years know that when you say the word "immigration," the person you're talking to is likely ...Read more

The Damage of a Strict Upbringing

CHICAGO -- You don't have to be Hispanic to remember a childhood run by a parent who wielded an iron fist. But if you are Hispanic, you're more likely to -- and might still have some emotional scars.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, Mexican-American and Dominican-American kids ages 4 to 6 were ...Read more

Let the Currency Be

CHICAGO -- We should have left the historical figures on our money alone. Let Alexander Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers on our currency rest in peace.

One need not be pro-man or anti-woman to believe that diminishing the men on our paper bills in order to elevate a female, by 2020, as recently decreed by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, is ...Read more

Where Diversity Comes Naturally

EL PASO, Texas -- I recently spent four days in "Latino-landia."


I've visited heavily Hispanic communities in Florida, California and Arizona, but nothing like what I experienced on a reporting trip arranged by the Aspen Institute's Latinos and Society Program.

In El Paso, Texas, and southern New Mexico, which along with Ciudad ...Read more

The Thriving Texas-New Mexico 'Borderplex'

MESILLA, New Mexico -- You're forgiven if you've never heard the term "North American Borderplex." It's a relatively new thing.

Borderplex is the term that civic, business and social leaders, who in 2013 organized themselves under an organization called The Borderplex Alliance, call the region that covers Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, El Paso and ...Read more

A Case Debunked, But Truth is Elusive

CHICAGO -- In mid-April, I wrote about official allegations that American soldiers and contractors based in Colombia had sexually assaulted dozens of young girls between 2003 and 2007, with some of the attacks being taped and sold as pornography.

Those allegations have been debunked.

The shocking charges had been included in an 800-page report...Read more

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